Source: District 97

The Oak Park Elementary Schools District 97 Board of Education is expected to vote on a 2018 estimated tax levy at a public hearing on Dec. 11. According to district data, the board is considering a 2018 estimated levy of roughly $73 million, $2 million more than the roughly $71 million levy extension approved in 2017.

The levy is a request for property tax dollars necessary to fund the district’s operations. Each year’s levy increase is capped by a state law that restricts how much school districts can raise in taxes.

According to the state’s property tax extension law, the amount of property tax revenue a school district brings in can increase each year by between 0 percent and 5 percent of the rate of inflation, which is measured by the Consumer Price Index.

The CPI for 2018 is 2.1 percent, but the school district is asking to extend its levy by 2.95 percent in order to capture an estimated $605,000 in additional tax revenue resulting from new construction, which added at least $14 million in equalized assessed value to the village’s tax base.

The actual tax levy extension won’t be determined until mid-2019, when property assessments have been set.

District officials first presented the proposed levy to the District 97 school board in October. Paul Starck-King, the district’s assistant superintendent for finance and operations, said then that a range of variables could affect the district’s upcoming budget.

Those uncertainties include a proposed two-year property tax freeze that state lawmakers have been flirting with, fluctuations in the district’s bond rating, changes in enrollment and the state’s new school funding formula.


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